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The Essential Guide to Creating a First Aid kit for Your Pet

The Essential Guide to Creating a First Aid kit for Your Pet

The Essential Guide to Creating a First Aid kit for Your Pet

 

Many households have a furry, feathered or even scaly member of the family but have you ever considered what you would do if they got hurt?

 

Whilst you may plan on heading straight to the vet, there are some injuries which can be easily treated at home, and others which require immediate treatment in order to avert a tragedy.

 

It's therefore highly advisable to have a comprehensive First Aid kit for your animals ready to use in case the worst happens. But the types of items you need are very different than what you might have in your own medicine cupboard and if you try to use human treatments, you could end up making the situation worse.

 

We've put together a step by step guide to creating your own pet First Aid kit along with some extra measures you can take to make sure you are prepared.

 

 First Aid Kit Bag for Pets

 

Pet first aid kit

Image Source: http://www.pettravelcenter.com/img/products/Pet_First_Aid_Kit.jpg

 

Some basic tools

No matter what pet you have, there are some basic implements which could come in handy if you need to administer First Aid. The following should be part of any kit:

 

Eye-dropper (or large syringe): Not just for administering eye or ear drops, this can also be used to give oral fluids or flush out a wound. 

 

Scissors: Useful for a myriad of purposes, they are perfect for snipping out chunks of matted fur as well as cutting bandages, gauze and so on. Special bandage scissors can be a helpful addition; these have a blunted edge which allows the scissors to slip between the bandage and skin without cutting or grazing your pet. 

 

Tweezers: To clear foreign bodies from wounds or to pull out splinters or thorns. Less likely than fingers to snap off part of the offending object, leaving part stuck deep inside a paw etc. 

 

Tick removal implement: Not an essential, but if you live in an area with lots of tics or you enjoy hiking or countryside activities with your pooch, it could be a good investment. Makes tick removal simple plus reduces the risk of nasty pathogens being released into your pet's bloodstream.

 

Microchipping dog

 

Tick removal

Image Source: http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4050/4711443255_839ec2d90c.jpg

 

Toenail clippers and styptic pencil: Even a relatively small injury such as a torn nail can get infected if not treated. A styptic pencil will stem the blood flow whilst clippers help you tidy up the damage.  

 

Staple supplies

Your pet First Aid kit should be suitable for dealing with a range of emergencies. To do this, the following supplies should be on hand:

 

Blanket/towel: Although you might have plenty in your house, it's a good idea to keep one in your pet First Aid box. This saves you trying to find a clean one in the event of an emergency. Use to wrap your pet to combat shock or as a stretcher to lift an immobile animal.

 

Gloves: You may not be worried about getting your hands dirty but with open wounds you could introduce bacteria or easily spread infection. A box of latex disposable gloves will protect your pet from cross contamination.

 

Muzzle: The idea may seem silly right now but if your pet is in the throes of pain, they could lash out without realising. As well as inflicting injury, it could also make it difficult to treat even the simplest of problems.

 

Plastic bags: The easiest way to deal with a foot injury en route to the vet. Simply tape over the foot, it will keep the injured part sterile and also stop blood seeping onto furniture, carpets or your vehicle.

 

Roll gauze: By purchasing in a roll rather than short strips, you can use gauze to staunch a wound, bandage an injury or even padding for a splint.

 

Tape: Easy to tear with a strong adhesive, it sticks well to your pet's skin. The best type is micropore tape, designed for this purpose. As an emergency temporary measure, duct tape can be used.

 

Telfa pads: You may not have known their name, but these are the non-stick pads which are used over a wound. If you run out, a nappy or a sanitary pad can act as a make-shift.

 

Thermometer: For most pets this means a rectal reading so don't forget a gentle water-based lubricant too. Research the normal vital signs for your pet in advance and tape the temperature range to the thermometer box, or the inside of your First Aid kit, so you don't have to rack your brains when faced with an unwell animal.

 

Vet wrap: A type of self-cling gauze, this is an approved bandage wrap which offers a degree of water protection. Perfect for animals as it doesn't rip off fur when removed, it should be applied with a slight degree of pressure. Do not apply too tightly as it can cut off circulation.

 

Essential medicines and treatments

Whilst it's not usually a good idea to give your pet medicine without the thumbs up from your vet, there are occasions when it is appropriate – or even vital – that you administer treatment. A lot of human medicines are lethal if given to dogs so keeping a supply of the following pet supplies could come in handy:

 

Antibiotic ointment: Available over the counter, it's suitable for applying to external grazes and cuts and helps prevent infection. Take care about putting in on animals that can lick it off! Absorbed topically, it is not suitable for use on every occasion so use with discretion.

 

Antiseptic wipes: The simplest way to cleanse a wound; opt for a non-sting formula such as betadine or chlorhexidine.

 

Diphenhydramine: Commonly known as Benadryl, a handy drug to have in the case of allergic reactions or stings. Check with your vet first about what dose is appropriate.

 

Haemostatic agent (such as QuikClot): To stop blood flow quickly. Useful to carry while you are out and about.

 

Sterile eye wash: To wash out the eyes in case of foreign bodies or contact with harmful substances.

 

Sterile saline wash: Useful for many situations including flushing wounds or foreign bodies from eyes. Also helpful in the case of smoke getting in the eyes and causing stinging and discomfort.

 

Washing up liquid: This is one of the easiest ways to quickly wash toxins from a pet's skin or fur. If used, make sure it is thoroughly washed off afterwards.

 

Water: Whilst you might not need to store this in a First Aid kit you plan on keeping at home, it's a good idea to have some bottled water in a mobile pack. Useful for rehydration, cooling down to prevent heat stroke, soaking an injured paw and washing off toxins.

 

Exotic animals and special needs

Any First Aid kit which you put together will obviously vary depending on the type of pet you have. Whilst many of the above items will be useful for the vast majority of animals, some more unusual species may need a few extra additions. This is also true for any pet with special medical needs. Here are some more ideas about what you might want to include:

 

Diluted tea tree oil: Many small animals such as rats suffer from skin complaints; diluted tea tree oil (containing at least 5% tea tree) can help clear up a wide range of conditions. This is useful for humans too!

 

Electrical tape: For temporary emergency shell repairs for tortoises.

 

Epi-pen: Only to be used in life or death situations on animals who are known to have a fatal allergy.

 

Honey or glucose: Kept as an emergency supply for diabetic animals. Consider also keeping corn syrup as this can be rubbed on the gums if the animal is not able to swallow.

 

Mini ICU tank: Spiders and small reptiles often suffer from dehydration which can be fatal if left unchecked. A special tank which can be used with a heat pad helps to get fluids in quickly. Spider tanks often have a 'mound' in the centre where moistened pads/towels can be placed.

 

Superglue: Invaluable for spiders with broken/damaged legs. Often also used on parrots who have damaged blood feathers.

 

Wire cutters: Small animals can easily get caught in the cage, or trapped in toys such as igloos which have come apart. Wire cutters help you release them quickly before serious injury occurs.

 

Non-medical supplies

In any First Aid kit, it's a good idea to keep a list of essentials so you aren't left scrabbling around in the event of an emergency.

 

This could include your vet's telephone number, the out of hour’s emergency number, contact details for the relevant poison helpline and a copy of your pet's medical history. It can also be a good idea to have these numbers programmed ready into your mobile phone.

 

Make sure you know exactly how to reach your vet's surgery, including the emergency practice as this might be in a different location to your regular appointments.

 

Other considerations

Whilst a First Aid kit for your pet should be seen as an essential part of their care, there's a few simple steps you can take to maximise its effectiveness.

 

 Dog wearing head guard

 

A pet first aid course is a great idea

Image Source: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7099/7151777553_51d0a6b7e2.jpg

 

Educate yourself by reading pet First Aid books or watching tutorials online. YouTube is a great resource which is free to use.

 

Consider attending a pet First Aid course, specifically designed for your type of animal. A reptile will have very different needs for example than a cat or a dog.

 

 Dog visited vet

 

Yes even vets like to get badges too!

Image Source: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7276/7712891140_755bbc3f41.jpg

 

Conclusion

It doesn't take long, or cost much, to put together a comprehensive First Aid kit; the vast majority of the items can be found either on the high street or from your local veterinary practice. You may not be able to deal with every emergency without medical assistance but by having these items on standby, you will be giving your pet the best chance of making it, as well as cutting down on the discomfort and pain they have to suffer.

 

 

 

Image Credits: Pet Travel Centre, 807MDSC, USAG-Humphreys

What's in a Phone Number?

As a pet-sitter you will have to provide a means for current and potential customers to easily get in touch. As we move into an ever increasing technological era with more and more communication being done online, there still are a very high percentage of people who prefer to use the phone. Several years ago, most people only had one phone number as their landline at home, but today there are a plethora of options available. Below we discuss some of the options available:  

Landline

Most of us still have landlines, as generally you need to have a landline in order to receive a broadband internet connection. When you give your landline number out, local people will instantly recognise the area code so they know you work within the local vicinity. However, it can be expensive to divert your landline to a mobile phone as you will be paying the cost from the landline to the mobile.  

Mobile

Whether it is a personal mobile, or a dedicated business mobile, it is probably the easiest way to get in touch with someone today. Not only do they provide an instant address book for all your clients, it means that you can receive calls easily on the go (abiding by traffic regulations) to ensure you don't miss any calls from potential clients.  

0800 Freephone

Freephone numbers have been around for a long time and over the years their use has started to decline. Whilst 0800 remains free of charge to most people who phone from a landline, there is a cost for people phoning from mobiles. This can in fact put people off from phoning a Freephone number as given a choice between a landline and a Freephone number, a lot of people would choose the landline number first. There is a monthly/annual service charge associated with having an 0800 number.  

0845 Non Geographic

0845 numbers are classified as non-geographic as they are not associated with any particular region with the UK. Anybody can easily purchase an 0845 number and setup the calls to be sent to their landline or mobile. Typically this type of phone number is used by large national organisations who have many locations and phoning their 0845 number puts your call through to a call centre. Some small businesses also use 0845 numbers for a variety of reasons. The main thing to think about is what kind of phone number would you phone if you were given a choice of a landline or an 0845 number.  

Skype Number

Quite a new concept but it is very popular. For a nominal fee (around £10 for 3 months) you can rent a local landline phone number and it will be connected to your Skype account. So you can advertise your Skype phone number and when your customers phone it, they will be ringing your Skype account. You can install the Skype App on most smartphones, and the phone call will come through to the mobile. With this there are no additional divert or call charges and the customer just pays the normal fee for dialing a landline number. The only limitation with this service is that it runs on WiFi or 3G, so if you are not in a WiFi or 3G area then there will be no service.   Whatever phone you use for your business, make sure it works for you. Keep an eye on what other local businesses are doing by how they advertise their phone number. Also put yourself in the potential customer's shoes what number would they trust more to phone when looking for a new pet sitter.

Case Study: From Belfast to Cardiff

This month we talked to Rebecca and Wayne who run Walk N' Roll. Originally based in Belfast they moved to Cardiff and are now full time pet-sitters. Read more below:  

What made you decide to leave your full time jobs to go into pet sitting?

It simply felt right. We had both followed an academic route, qualified as teachers and subsequently embarked on training careers. Whilst our careers offered us many opportunities and taught us invaluable skills, we reached a point where they no longer fulfilled us. We had all the trappings, the lovely apartment, two cars, a holiday once a year but it wasn't right for us. I had been working for an enterprise agency delivering business training to school children and it came to the point where I needed to practice what I was preaching. We are both animal lovers and dreamed of spending our days working with them. So the business knowledge and animal passion married together led to the obvious conclusion of setting up our own animal focused business. When setting up any business you have to expect a significant dip in earnings, to start, but considering how we now spend our days, we both feel our standard of living has actually improved!

Did you have any previous experience of pet sitting?

Most of our experience came from caring for our own pet, Dita, a Jack Russell Terrier we rescued from the local animal shelter. We also cared for family pets while growing up. As animal owners ourselves, we have not only learned the necessary skills for animal care, but also developed that all important empathy. We know it can be worrying to let someone you don't initially know come into your home and look after your beloved pet. Understanding this helps us to put our clients at ease. Through our membership with NarpsUK, we are learning more every day about the business side of things. It's wonderful to have the opportunity to network with people in the same industry.  

What prompted the move from Belfast to Cardiff?

The million dollar question, to which we don't have an exact answer. Whilst Belfast is an exciting and vibrant city, we had both lived there since being students and felt we needed new pastures to explore. We enjoyed a great weekend in Cardiff, appreciated its proximity to London, and so decided to research it as an option. We took a trip over to explore all the areas and fell in love with Roath. Two years on and we are still in love!.  

What's been the hardest moment?

Waiting for the phone to ring! We had the website good to go, our clothing branded and our bags packed but that didn't mean anyone knew about us. We were also working part-time and that was quite difficult; we had to juggle initial bookings around shifts in our respective jobs. Then came the decision to make the leap into the role full-time. We paced ourselves with me leaving work first and growing the business until it reached the stage where Wayne needed to come on-board as well. We have worked really hard and are now thrilled to both be working full-time with Walk N' Roll.  

How did you build up a new client base in Cardiff?

Slowly but surely. Using all the usual suspects: website, flyer drops, Facebook, twitter, posters in local shops and networking in local parks. Each offered their own leads. Initially the website proved the most successful way of gaining new business but we rebranded all our work clothing adding DOG WALKER across the back in bold writing. This has helped us gain a lot of local business; people walk right up and ask for a business card.  

What is your unique selling point for your business?

A client recently summarised it for us in saying that we offer a bespoke service. We are the only two people in the business: Walk n' Roll is not a franchise. We come out, personally, and meet prospective clients and their pets, taking lots of notes on their pets and the service they need. We pick our dogs up on foot and do not use a van. We limit ourselves to three dogs each thus ensuring excellent supervision and engagement. If we can we will keep the dog out for longer than booked, meeting up with each other to offer the dogs an opportunity to play and socialise with each other. At times, one hour walks become 2 or 2½ hours with no extra charge to the client. We would rather be out with dogs than inside.  

Where do you see yourselves in pet sitting in 5 years time?

We have plans to expand the range of services we offer. Our big goal is to buy a property here and offer home boarding and doggie day care. We would also like to train in complimentary services such as grooming and animal massage.

A Week in the Life of a Pet Sitter

Ever wanted to find out what it is like to be a pet sitter?

This month we spoke to Derek Chambers from London who runs Finchley Dog Walker.

www.finchleydogwalker.co.uk

Derek took a diary of what he got up to and has kindly shared it with us.

 

 

Day 1 – Sunday

07:00  Up and dressed, Quick egg on toast for breakfast. A fairly easy day today

08:30  Picked up Kiki for her morning walk over Avenue House. Fed and watered the cats whilst the owners are away

10:00  Back home and time to get ready for Ice Skating with the scouts and St Georges Day

17:00  Pick up kiki for her second walk of the day, Fed and watered cats

 

Day 2 – Monday

06:00  Alarm goes off, press the snooze

06:15  Up and dressed

06:30  Picked up Kiki for her morning walk over Avenue House.  Fed and watered the cats whilst the owners are away

08:00  Back home in time for Kas to be dropped off

08:10  Kas is dropped off and together with Missy and Roxy we go to the Glebelands

09:30  Back home for a quick bowl of porridge

10:00  Pick up Sam the 6 month old Jack Russell for his morning walk.  Off we go to Dollis Brook

11:00  Drop off Sam back home

11:30  Pick up Barny the Tibetan for his first walk of the day and go over the Whetstone Stray

12:05  Barny returned home and given his midday snack

12:30  Pick up Hector a very shy 2 year old rescue Greyhound that so far we have not managed to get him out past the driveway due to the traffic but slow progress is being made with the help of Kevin from Barnet Training School

13:20  Back home for lunch

14:30  Pick up Barny for his second walk of the day

15:10  Return Barney home

16:03  Take a phone call from a gentleman that found me on the internet and wants to walk his Pharaoh hound.  Arrange to meet him on Wednesday at 18:00

17:00  Pick up Kiki for her evening walk and feed the cats

19:00  off out to do some climbing for scouts

 

Day 3 – Tuesday

06:00  Alarm goes off, press the snooze

06:15  Up and dressed

06:32  Picked up Kiki for her morning walk over Avenue House. Fed and watered the cats whilst the owners are away

07:58  Back home in time for Kas to be dropped off

08:15  Kas is dropped off and together with Missy and Roxy we go to the Glebelands

09:30  Back home for a quick bowl of porridge

10:00  Pick up Sam the 6 month old Jack Russell for his morning walk. Off we go to Dollis Brook

11:00  Drop off Sam back home

11:30  Pick up Barny the Tibetan for his first walk of the day and go over the Whetstone Stray

12:05  Barny returned home and given his midday snack

12:40  Pick up Morrisey the 18 month old Lab also pick up Poppy and Frieda and walk them over Highgate Woods

13:50  Back home for lunch

14:30  Pick up Barny for his second walk of the day

15:10  Return Barney home

16:03  Off to meet Sue from Tip Top Dog School with regards to sharing links on the website and possibly working together

17:20  After a successful meeting with Sue and links swapped on website and business cards swapped etc. set off to pick up Kiki for her evening walk and feed the cats

20:30  Leave Kiki and set off home – an extra long day

 

Day 4 – Wednesday

06:00  Alarm goes off, press the snooze

06:05  Up and dressed

06:27  Picked up Kiki for her morning walk over Avenue House.  Fed and watered the cats whilst the owners are away

07:55  Back home in time for Kas to be dropped off

08:07  Kas is dropped off and together with Missy and Roxy we go to the Glebelands

08:11  Sams owners text to see if I can make it 10:30 instead of 10am.  I said I could just about accommodate the time change

09:30  Back home for breakfast

10:25  Pick up Sam the 6 month old Jack Russell for his morning walk.  Off we go to Dollis Brook

11:31  Drop off Sam back home

12:02  Pick up Barny the Tibetan for his first walk of the day and go over the Whetstone Stray

12:35  Barny returned home and given his midday snack

13:00  Pick up Morrisey the 18 month old Lab also pick up Poppy and Frieda and walk them over Highgate Woods

13:50  Back home for lunch

14:30  Pick up Barny for his second walk of the day

15:10  Return Barney home

16:03  ‘Pick up Kiki for her second walk

18:00  Meeting with new client with regards to walking Taxi the Pharaoh Hound (the ones who found my website on bing).

All being well we will be walking him Wednesday and Friday from next week

 

Day 5 – Thursday

06:30  Up slightly late this morning, hurriedly get dressed etc.

07:01  Picked up Kiki for her morning walk over Avenue House.  Fed and watered the cats whilst the owners are away

08:10  Back home.  Kas’s owner is waiting for me – off with Kassy Missy and Roxy we go to the Glebelands

09:30  Grab a porridge on the go and leave to get Oscar

10:00  Pick up Oscar a reactive Boxer for his walk.  Discuss the Yellow Dog scheme  with the owner as I have just become a  member.

11:31  Drop off oscar  back home

12:02  Pick up Barny the Tibetan for his first walk  of the day and go over the Whetstone Stray

12:35  Barny returned home and given his  midday snack

13:00  Pick up Morrisey the 18 month old Lab   also pick up Poppy and Frieda and walk   them over Highgate Woods

13:50  Pick Betty a 4 year old staff up

14:30  Pick up Barny for his second walk of the day

15:10  Return Barney home

16:03  ‘Pick up Kiki for her second walk

18:00  off out to run scouts

22:00  Back home for the day

Growing Your Pet Sitting Business - Part 5/5

Make a Not-to-Do List

Most people have the aptly named “To Do” lists, but have you ever created a “Not to Do List”? The principle is if what you’re doing isn’t moving you forward, then it’s holding you back.

This list is something you should create and place in a prominent place that you can view every day. So what types of things could you have in your “Not to do List” – see some examples below:

  • During Working hours – do not watch television
  • Don’t think about how much money your competitors are making
  • Forget about clients who have cancelled your services
  • Remember work-life balance

The things you put on this list will help you focus on the value adding activities for your business and beyond. Remember to review it regularly.

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